How do you learn a new language fast? If you look around, you will see many different methods available. In this article, I will expose the fallacy of classroom based teaching and show you how I learned to converse in a totally new language within barely a month or two.
Classroom Based Language Learning
The first thing to say is that classroom based language learning is not the only method available. In fact, in many ways it can be considered one of the worst methods available.
In a classroom, you cannot receive much in the way of individual attention. A single teacher is responsible for the differing needs of up to 30 pupils. There is no way that he or she can cater to your own needs.
Also, classroom based learning is frequently based (like other school subjects) on rote learning and memorisation. You may be good at memorising lists but if you forget 90% of the new vocabulary within a week then what is the point?
Classroom based learning does have value but you are best to return to it after learning via other methods. It can help to consolidate what you have already learned.
Self Study Methods
Much better than classroom based learning are self study methods.
For example, going through a textbook on your own will give you more progress in a language than classroom based teaching will.
Much better than books, however, is the Michel Thomas language learning method. This is what I used myself and the method is available for a number of ever-expanding languages including French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Portuguese and Dutch. This is to name just a few.
MT is one of many acquisition-based methods where you do not need to attend classes, there is no homework and there is also no rote memorisation. Another one that is available for more languages is the Pimsleur series of audio learning materials. In my view, it is not as good as MT, but if MT is not available in your language then Pimsleur is better than nothing.
Another great self study method you should consider is Assimil. This is the only self-study course that the US Diplomatic Service recommend. The great thing about Assimil is that it is available for nearly all major and minor foreign languages.
Watch TV With Subtitles
It is well known that many people around the world learn English by watching English-language movies and TV programs.
If you are learning a foreign language then it is very difficult to find their movies and TV programs but with subtitles in English. However, there is an alternative that works very well: watch regular English-language material but with foreign subtitles (just like they do).
Although this is the reverse situation, it is still highly valuable. As you glance at the subtitles, you can still hear the English and know exactly what the foreign translation relates to.
Many movies come with subtitles in major languages. You can also download subtitle files on the internet for a wide variety of languages. Just search for the movie or TV program name and the word subtitle or srt.
The great thing about this method is that it allows you to quickly assimilate the common words that are used in everyday conversation. As we only use a few hundred words every day, it really does not take long for you to be able to understand the meaning of most conversations.
Learning a new language is not as difficult as most people think. There are many myths abound, usually propagated by those who have never even learned a second language, or who gave up early on.
Don't believe the myths. Do it yourself and you can succeed. Good luck and may you have great success.